The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics And The Practice Of Democracy, 1900-1955

Paperback | March 31, 2014

byLeela Gandhi

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Europeans and Americans tend to hold the opinion that democracy is a uniquely Western inheritance, but in The Common Cause, Leela Gandhi recovers stories of an alternate version, describing a transnational history of democracy in the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of ethics in the broad sense of disciplined self-fashioning. Gandhi identifies a shared culture of perfectionism across imperialism, fascism, and liberalism—an ethic that excluded the ordinary and unexceptional. But, she also illuminates an ethic of moral imperfectionism, a set of anticolonial, antifascist practices devoted to ordinariness and abnegation that ranged from doomed mutinies in the Indian military to Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual discipline.
 
Reframing the way we think about some of the most consequential political events of the era, Gandhi presents moral imperfectionism as the lost tradition of global democratic thought and offers it to us as a key to democracy’s future. In doing so, she defends democracy as a shared art of living on the other side of perfection and mounts a postcolonial appeal for an ethics of becoming common.

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Europeans and Americans tend to hold the opinion that democracy is a uniquely Western inheritance, but in The Common Cause, Leela Gandhi recovers stories of an alternate version, describing a transnational history of democracy in the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of ethics in the broad sense of disciplined self-f...

Leela Gandhi is professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the founding coeditor of the journal Postcolonial Studies and the author, most recently, of Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought and the Politics of Friendship.

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Postcolonial Theory: A critical introduction
Postcolonial Theory: A critical introduction

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:March 31, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022601990X

ISBN - 13:9780226019901

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Moral Imperfection: An Ethics for Democracy
1 After Virtue: The Strange Case of Belle Époque Socialist Antimaterialism
2 On Descent: Stories from the Gurus of Modern India
3 Elementary Virtues: Great War and the Crisis of European Man
4 Inconsequence: Some Little-Known Mutinies Around 1946
Epilogue: Paths of Ahimsaic Historiography
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“A brilliant mapping of anticolonial logics and antinomies shaping democratic solidarity.”